The Claudio Scolari Project releases its fifth album Cosmology, the soundtrack of an imaginary journey into space, where acoustic and electronic sounds blend in an endless dialogue. This is the first time I have heard anything by the Claudio Scolari Project but the idea of a jazz-based soundtrack through space captured my imagination and here we are.
The album begins with ‘Dark Matter’, which starts quietly with a drum groove and distant trumpet. The driving force of the tune is the drum and synthesiser patterns with the trumpet playing a melodic line behind the groove. I have read somewhere that this is the group’s trademark sound: the combination of synthetic sound and the natural tones of piano and trumpet. ‘Magnitude opens with repeating synthesised pattern over which the drums lay another pattern with the trumpet again providing the melody. The tune becomes far more interesting with the introduction of the piano lines which provide a contrast to the trumpet playing of Simone Scolari. Track three, ‘Hyperspace’ has a more open acoustic with the trumpet floating in the distance. This is a much more reflective sound than the previous two tracks and the piano of Daniele Cavalca stands out for me with its improvisatorial quality: it is in style like a tonal doodle in space.
‘Aurora’ is more upbeat in feel with the tune building on a synthesised repeating phrase. There is some very nice piano work in this number and the drumming is solid throughout. ‘Zenith’ has a busy opening with a lot going on between drums, bass, and piano and whilst the trumpet does temper the energy slightly there is always an undercurrent of vibrancy flowing through this tune. Stylistically, Spectrum’ (see video link at the end of this post) has much in common with the album’s opening track but with greater emphasis on the bass of Michele Cavalca whose playing compliments Daniele Cavalca’s piano beautifully. ‘Cosmology’ comes in at track seven and is the shortest piece on the album. This tune, like several others, is built over a synthesised bed of sound only this time the trumpet sounds further forward in the mix and more engaged.
The trumpet voice on ‘Blue Shift’ is much fuller than at any other time on the album so far. The same can also be said of the playing by Danielle Cavalca on the Rhodes and this track stands out because of this. The intensity of the drumming drives on the latter stages of the number before the tune fades out with a repeated trill. ‘Aphelion’ shifts gear upwards. The bass lays down a solid groove over which the piano and trumpet play their melodies. There is some terrific piano playing on the second half of this track and the trumpet of Simone Scolari is at its most expressive. The sound levels drop for ‘Lunation’ with each of the players sounding like they are feeling their way around the tune, not sure whether to fully engage or not, which makes for an interesting listen particularly when the piano starts prodding and probing.
‘Black Hole’ opens with the trumpet playing over rippled drumming and a nice bass line. The sound steadily grows with a repeating deep resonance underpinning what is being played by trumpet and piano. ‘Collision’ has a march like quality to its opening few bars. The trumpet playing is bright, the piano is percussive, which matches well with the drumming and percussion that propels this track forward. The final track of the album is ‘Nebula’ and opens with the piano playing repeated patterns over which the trumpet plays its own melodic line. The drumming is crisp, while the piano appears to be searching for some forgotten refrain before resorting to a mix of rumbles and trills and then dropping out all together: a thought-provoking tune on which to end the album.
Cosmology is available as a download or CD from Bandcamp having been released back in March of 2021. I enjoyed reviewing this album and thought the use of synthesisers, piano, and drum sets created interesting multi-layered themes. However, at times I did feel that the trumpet of Simone Cavalca could have been more expressive, more engaging. As it was, I found myself more interested in what the other members of the project were playing rather than to the sometime-one-dimensional sound of the horn.
Cladio Scolar i – drum set 1, synth programming.
Daniele Cavalca – drum set 2, live synths, Rhodes, piano.
Simone Scolari – trumpet.
Michele Cavalca – electric bass.
1.Dark Matter. 2. Magnitude. 3.Hyper Galaxy. 4. Aurora. 5. Zenith. 6. Spectrum. 7.Cosmology. 8. Blue Shift. 9. Aphelion. 10.Lunation. 11. Hole. 12.Collision. 13. Nebula.